The Importance Of Being Earnest, By Oscar Wilde

1454 words - 6 pages

In The Importance of Being Earnest Oscar Wilde revealed that animalistic traits can tint a character’s intellectual attributes. All of the characters possess an overwhelming desire which seems to diminish their morality. Wilde uses Jack Worthing’s animalistic behaviors to reveal that his animal self is damaging his intellectual self. The play is presented to show that the characters retain an exaggerated pleasure with food, which shows their pleasures in inanimate objects. Every character in the play is drawn into lustful relationships, thus mutilating their psychological self. By embracing their animalistic traits the characters in The Importance of Being Earnest begin to blemish their intellectual character which inhibits their overall persona.
Jack Worthing’s, the main character, animalism impairs his prestigious morality. Jack creates a fictional character called Ernest Worthing, to act as a rowdy brother that is portrayed as a burdensome sibling. However, he created this fictional personage so he could be as frivolous as he pleased without his ward Cecily knowing of his obstreperous ways. Jack’s acquaintance, Algernon Moncrieff, establishes that Jack’s brother does not actuality exist, and his thoughts are reaffirmed when he finds a cigarette case. He asks “This cigarette case is a present from some one of the name of Cecily, and you said you didn't know any one of that name…” Jack stutters “Well, if you want to know, Cecily happens to be my aunt…” (Wilde 4). Jack’s reasoning has become so tainted that his animalism seems to counterpoise his intellectual character. However, to no avail Algernon still inquires unremittingly “But why does she call herself little Cecily if she is your aunt and lives at Tunbridge Wells? [Reading] 'From little Cecily with her fondest love’…” and finally the terminal statement “Besides, your name isn't Jack at all; it is Ernest” (Wilde 4-5). By stating that he did not know anyone by the name of Cecily, Jack initiates his own debacle. He has to clarify that Cecily is actual his ward. Nonetheless, Jack bears no anguish to dissembling to his closest companion. Jack’s morality has been impaired by his lies and it implies that his animalistic qualities control him. Yet, he falls in love and he must tell Gwendolen, his sweetheart, of his morally wrong character. In order to do so Jack has to disclose that Ernest was not in fact his real name but a mere alias created to cover up his dastardly ways. He can think of no other way than to “kill” his brother. Wilde shows how Jack’s urbane nature begins to be marred by his animalism since he was willing to kill a man, fictional or not. Ensuing in the play Jack is speaking with Algernon and he begins to ponder on how to commit the murder. He states “My poor brother Ernest is carried off suddenly in Paris, by a severe chill. That gets rid of him” (Wilde 16). Though fictional, Jack’s murder of Ernest still seems to carry the same implications further into the book. This murder...

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